Client Success Story: Serena Allen, Forever Yours Bridal
Just like any new business owner, Serena Allen began her entrepreneurial journey by taking a risk. While teaching alternative education at Satterlee School in Greenville, Michigan, and going to school to pursue her master’s degree, Allen decided to pursue her dream of opening a bridal shop, filling her afternoons with planning and developing her business idea.
Allen first became interested in the bridal industry after helping plan a wedding with a friend back in 2012. After recognizing that Greenville didn’t have a bridal shop, it just made sense for her to move forward. But the process was not without its challenges.
Serena shared her struggles: “My greatest challenge was financing. I was turned down by several banks because I did not have enough collateral to put up for the loan (I don’t own a house). I worked with the Small Business Development Center, and they referred me to GROW.”
Allen initially worked with a business consultant at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to polish her business plan before they suggested that she look at GROW’s microloan program for financial assistance. After attending Intro to GROW (the prerequisite class for GROW programs and services), Allen worked with GROW staff to secure a microloan, which provided her with much-needed funds for equipment, furnishings, and inventory.
Through GROW, Allen received the help she needed and was connected to resources she otherwise would have not known about. In July 2015, with family and friends by her side, she began renovations of her space. She opened Forever Yours Bridal later that year.
Although she had been developing a business plan for nearly five years, her work with GROW helped to bring everything together. Allen said, “I am glad there is an organization like GROW with programs and resources available for women who want to pursue business endeavors and their dream of becoming an entrepreneur/business owner. And I’m looking forward to connecting with mentors through GROW as my business continues to develop.”
Allen is thankful for the “nice, helpful, and knowledgeable professionals” at GROW for helping Forever Yours Bridal to become a reality.
In addition to selling bridal gowns, Forever Yours Bridal offers tuxedo rentals, dress consignment, wedding accessories, and alterations. Allen also carries some hard-to-find items, including two lines of camouflage wedding dresses.